The Legend of Spring-Heeled Jack

Despite the many advances in science and industry that took place in Victorian England, that time period was till full of superstition and paranormal belief. Many people still believed in fairies, phrenology and spiritualism- all things that have since been proven false. Quite a few people also believed in a devil-man called Spring-Heeled Jack.

The first known sighting of Spring-Heeled Jack was in Sheffield, England in the first decade of the 19th century. He was described as a ghost-like figure who could jump incredibly high and far. At this point, he was mostly harmless and limited his adventures to pranks and tame scares.

media.comicbook.com

When Jack re-emerged in London in the 1830s, his attacks were no longer funny. The demon-like figure was described as having a long nose, pointy ears, and glowing red eyes. He could also breathe fire and jump incredible distances. He focused his assaults on women, either by ambushing them while they were out walking or by attacking them when they opened their front doors. He tore their clothes and scratched them, and sometimes breathed flames into their faces. Then, he would leap away so fast that no one who saw him believed he was human. Supposedly, he was even seen jumping over rooftops.

Jack’s activities were reported all across England, but they became particularly prevalent in an area known as the Black Country in the 1850s. He was once seen jumping from rooftop to rooftop in the main square of one village. Most of his attacks here involved breathing fire into the faces of his victims, scaring them half to death before running away. Once an area was in a panic over sightings of Spring-Heeled Jack, he would disappear for a time before returning months or years later.

He became an iconic figure in Victorian culture, and was often featured in the popular “penny dreadful” novels of the time. Parents would invoke his name when reminding their children to behave and to return home on time. Preachers would use him to scare their parishioners out of staying out late and drinking at the local pub.

Sightings of Jack were intermittent throughout the 1800s, and he even made an appearance at the military base in Aldershot in 1877, where he terrified the guards over a series of weeks. His antics came to an end, though, in 1904, when he made his last known appearance in Liverpool. On this occasion, he leapt down a street, jumped onto a rooftop and ran off into the night, never to be seen again.

The legend of Spring-Heeled Jack is still popular in some circles. He often features in steampunk art and comic books in the present-day. But the mystery behind Jack has never been solved. No one knows how many people, or who, was involved in perpetrating his reign of terror over the people of Victorian England. And no one has yet discovered how he performed his feats of agility, such as jumping onto roofs from the street.

Next Article
ADVERTISEMENT
  • Missing Couple Found Frozen After 75 Years

    On August 15, 1942 Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin, a Swiss married couple who were also parents to seven children, walked up to a mountain pasture near Chandolin, Switzerland to feed their cows. This was a rare excursion for the couple to take together, since Francine was often pregnant and could not usually make the climb....

    Read More
  • 27 Contact Lenses Found Lodged in One Woman’s Eye

    The biggest nightmare for wearers of contact lenses came true for one British woman late last year. The 67-year-old went in for cataract surgery at Solihull Hospital in England last November. In addition to the cataracts, she also complained of pain in her right eye, which she assumed was caused by dry eyes or old...

    Read More
  • Was Jane Austen Poisoned?

    In July of 1817, popular novelist Jane Austen died. This writer of such perennial favorites as Pride and Prejudice and Emma was only 41, and she did not have a history of health problems. As medical science was not very advanced in the 1800s, no one knows what killed her, though Addison’s disease and lymphoma...

    Read More
  • The Man Who Tried to Raise the Perfect Wife

    Finding a wife was difficult in the 18th century. There was no online dating, and strict social controls made it difficult for members of the opposite sex to get to know one another. But things were especially hard for a man named Thomas Day, and he came up with a novel, though cruel, way to...

    Read More
  • Giant Iceberg Breaks Free in Antarctica

    Sometime between July 10th and July 12th, a giant iceberg broke free from Antarctica, wreaking havoc on shipping lanes in the area while it breaks up into smaller pieces. It broke off from the Larsen C Ice Shelf, automatically reducing that shelf’s area by 12% when it did so. Larsen C is now at its...

    Read More
  • The Worst Husband in British History

    By all accounts, Mary Eleanor Bowes should have had a happy life. She was born into one of the wealthiest families in England, as her father was the wealthy mine owner George Bowes. She was an only child, and she was much cherished by her parents. However, when her father unexpectedly died in 1760 when...

    Read More
  • The Papin Sisters and France’s Most Gruesome Murder Case

    Life seemed to be against the Papin sisters, Christine and Lea, from the time of their births, in 1905 and 1911 respectively. They were born into a highly dysfunctional family. Their mother reportedly had affairs, and their father was an abusive alcoholic. Their mother never showed them any affection, and was so mentally unstable that...

    Read More
  • The Legend of Spring-Heeled Jack

    Despite the many advances in science and industry that took place in Victorian England, that time period was till full of superstition and paranormal belief. Many people still believed in fairies, phrenology and spiritualism- all things that have since been proven false. Quite a few people also believed in a devil-man called Spring-Heeled Jack. The...

    Read More